On a very hot day in June at the start of this current scorching heatwave, I headed to the Grosvenor House Hotels’ Park Room to try their take on Afternoon Tea which they’ve named Anna’s Afternoon Tea. The GrosvenorHouseHotel is undoubtedly one of Park Lane’s landmark hotels a stone’s throw from other iconic hotels on this prestigious Mayfair address. It’s a hotel I haven’t been to in absolute ages, in fact, I think the last time I was here was for my cousin’s wedding and that was a very long time ago! I was excited to be heading back to the Grosvenor House for Afternoon Tea and the best bit, I had chosen an “unlimited champagne” offer. London was busy with a wonderful atmosphere, the hot weather surely a contributory factor, the city suddenly takes on a new meaning, everyone is happy and smiling. I arrived at the Grosvenor House Hotel rather sweaty having realised that I would have been better off getting off at Marble Arch station rather than Hyde Park Corner so please bear that in mind when visiting this section of Park Lane.
I was stunned at how beautiful the hotel was, can it really be the same hotel I visited all those years ago? But then I remembered, weddings and other functions are usually held in the Great Ballroom which has its own entrance making it appear separate to the hotel, so I never really got the chance to see the main hotel at my cousin’s wedding.
The lobby is so bright and spacious, contemporary and very classic and elegant in cream and black with giant mirrors and cool marble giving the hotel the feel of a continental beach-side residence where marble plays a key part in the hotel’s decor, it’s the epitome of sophistication with a completely different look and feel to all the other luxury London hotels I’ve been to. I was really impressed and wondered why I had never made a point of visiting or staying at the Grosvenor House before but it’s on my list now.
As well as the Park Room where Afternoon Tea, light lunches and drinks are served, the hotel has two restaurants, a casual dining restaurant, J W Steakhouse and Corrigan’s of Mayfair, a swish finer dinging experience by award winning chef Richard Corrigan. The Grosvenor Hotel is also home to two plush bars, the Red Bar and the Bourbon Bar, both quite different but equally important to visit during a stay here and, Park Lane Market which is open daily for breakfast and lunch with freshly brewed coffee, tea, delicious snacks, pastries and other light bites, all dining facilities at the hotel is open to the public not just people staying at the hotel. I can see why the Grosvenor House Hotel, now part of the prestigious Marriott Group of hotels is such a popular choice and offers something different to the other iconic Park Lane hotels such as the Dorchester.
The Park Room is a beautiful space, large mirrors reflecting natural light, polished herringbone wooden floors complemented by the plush abstract carpet and then you have the most comfy chairs in cream, grey and vibrant green. The chandeliers in the centre of the Park Room above the beautiful central table are so unique in style made up of little shaped leaves, it makes the table below twinkle and sparkle. The table is adorned with stunning displays of flowers and a selection of traditional cakes such as fruit, lemon, chocolate and cherry frangipane. These are included in your Afternoon Tea – if you can fit it in, I was so full but I was able to take a couple away with me. The focal point of this cool calm oasis is the elegant bar, striking yet understated, I would have liked to have been able to spend a bit of time here to enjoy cocktails or champagne, that’s for another time, I was here to enjoy the hotel’s wonderful Afternoon Tea.
I was seated at one of the corner tables which was quite low but nonetheless comfortable and I was soon greeted with a glass of crisp chilled champagne, my Afternoon Tea today had an endless supply of the bubbly stuff as I had chosen a free-flowing Champagne Afternoon Tea. The Park Room have chosen to name their Afternoon Tea, Anna’s Afternoon Tea after Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who was a close friend of Queen Victoria, she is credited for coming up with the idea of Afternoon Tea, so the Grosvenor House Hotel pay homage to her by naming their Tea in her honour.
As I sip my champagne, I’m rewarded with a stunning view of colourful flowers and flowering plants surrounding the front of the hotel, it’s so relaxing after my sweltering journey. The glass of chilled water my waitress welcomes me with is much needed. I browse the menu and settle on my usual tea of Assam, that and English Breakfast are usually my choice for the savoury course switching over to a floral tea for the desserts. I am given a brief low down of the menu as the classic tiered china stand arrives fully laden with all sorts of wonderful savoury and sweet goodies.
To begin with there was a lovely sherbet-like strawberry and passion fruit amuse bouche in a cute shot glass topped with candy floss, it was so delicious, but I had to leave some behind as it was too thick to drink but I managed to enjoy most of it, it was a taste of things to come.
The delicate finger sandwiches were pristine, in the collection were cucumber with garden mint butter, smoked Oakham chicken with its partner-in-crime, tarragon and crème fraiche, roast Aberdeen Angus beef with creamed horseradish, honey roast Yorkshire ham with classic Coleman’s English mustard and North Atlantic cold-water prawn with Marie Rose sauce. My favourite was the Oakham chicken which had a delicious smokiness to it and married so well with tarragon, it was a delight as was the open sandwiches. Two wonderful surprises, Foreman’s smoked Scottish salmon and cream cheese and Burford brown Clarence Court, egg, mayonnaise and chive, the base being a mini muffin and topped with a tiny quail egg, this was sublime, egg is always one of my favourites on an Afternoon Tea Menu. While enjoying my savoury treats, my champagne never failed to be topped up to brimming, just how I like it, I’m not sure how many glasses I consumed but who cares!
The scones were just how they should be, too often I’m presented with tiny scones or some are sometimes a bit doughy, as a keen baker, I know they are tricky to bake, these were large, fluffy and pillowy soft with a crunchy crust. Anna’s Afternoon Tea comes with a choice of preserves, either the classic strawberry, rose petal, rhubarb and ginger, gooseberry, raspberry and blackberry. I chose to have two, strawberry, why spoil a classic? and the other was the fragrant rose petal, ever so lightly scented with rose, not too overpowering complemented with rich creamy clotted cream.
Since I was on the sweet course, I decided to switch teas, so I chose Silver Needle, a beautifully fragrant Jasmine tea from the Fujian Province of China. The hotels’ china is classic and contemporary in style, much like the Park Room complemented with traditional silverware; of course, I am not allowed to pour the tea, I don’t lift a finger because the hotel’s service is truly exceptional.
Anna’s Afternoon Tea has a choice of five delectable pastries consisting of ginger curd and passionfruit coulis, this resembled an egg yolk which when pierced was just like the yolk of an egg oozing a heady passionfruit liquid, it was one of my favourites. A clever mix of green apple and coriander mousse on a bed of crunchy quinoa, a chocolate ring with types of chocolate, a milk chocolate, almond and banana sponge and a rich but light lemon Myrtle and raspberry Pavlova.
Just to finish you off, you then have a choice of cakes to try which are beautifully displayed in among the flower arrangements of the table in the centre of the Park Room, classic British cakes such as lemon, fruit, chocolate and cherry and almond. In all honesty, I was fit to burst but the hotel very kindly offered to put a couple in a box to take away with me which was nice as my son and daughter got to enjoy a little bit of this very special Afternoon Tea.
I had a lovey experience at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the Park Room offer this delicious Afternoon Tea priced at £42.50 or £45.50 if you choose a tea from their Rare & Exclusive range, enjoy a glass of Perrier-Jouet champagne for £10. My Afternoon Tea offer was priced at £55 (plus 12.5% service) with unlimited champagne.
I think Anna had an ingenious idea by inventing the now Great British Ritual that is Afternoon Tea and the Park Room’s aptly named Anna’s Afternoon Tea is an absolute delight and I thoroughly recommend a visit.
The Park Room
The Grosvenor House Hotel
86-90 Park Lane
London W1K 7TN
020 7399 8452
All images and views are my own 🙂